“I miss my mom.”
I posted that on Facebook yesterday. It was a rough night. I needed to talk to her. I always called her when I was struggling. And last night I was struggling.
Many kind people, very helpful people, commented.
“I’m so sorry. Praying loving memories of your Mom will soothe your heart.”
“I feel your pain.”
“Losing a parent is one of the toughest things you’ll ever endure. In time, you’ll learn to work around the hole she left.”
My mom is not dead, though. I didn’t lose her. She just can’t really talk anymore.
She’s just not the same.
She’s here and she’s not here.
My post on Facebook was about missing that giant part of her – the love and compassion and care.
That’s the part I was referring to last night. That’s the part that’s largely gone — her mind. And even though she’s here in the flesh and I am so incredibly grateful to be able to hold her frail hands, and caress her and kiss her and sometimes make her laugh, we can’t communicate.
Every Saturday, at a minimum, I visit the skilled nursing facility, also known as, her home.
Her room is near the end of the corridor to the right of a lobby. I walk down the corridor. Often, there is a very elderly woman with the knit beanie. Scuttling on the floor with her slippers, back and forth and back and forth, she mummers to herself. She has no teeth. She must weigh no more than 75 pounds. She holds a bald baby doll as if for dear life. Back and forth and back and forth, she scuttles. Others sit in the corridor in wheelchairs.
Mom has a roommate. There is a drape that separates them. It’s dull yellow. I’m not sure of the name of the lady she’s with this time. Over the past four years, there have been many. Some have died. I especially remember Mary, and wrote about her and this entire nightmare, here.
As I walk down the long corridor, I always look into the rooms to the right. It’s not a pretty sight, all these stroke victims or cancer victims or life victims. I’m telling you, it’s not nice to see.
Some of you know what I mean.
Mom’s bed is adjustable. She doesn’t walk anymore. I always lie next to her. I used to get her into her wheelchair, push her outside, then we’d sit on the outdoor sofa near the entrance. I would escort her around the rose garden, holding her left arm as we walked slowly. She would always look at the box hedges and say, “those are mine.” At her house (we had to sell it after the stroke) she had box hedges in the front yard. Often she would trim them.
We’d walk around the rose garden once or twice. Then we’d sit for hours — me to her right. We’d laugh. I’d show her pictures of her mother and father, my Nonno and Nonna. We’d listen to Pavarotti. I always brought one of those fruit bars from Trader Joe’s.
I still bring the fruit bars and show her the pictures and we listen to Pavarotti. But, as I said earlier, she doesn’t walk anymore. I still take her outside. We sit. I took this photo on Saturday.
I was happy because I made her laugh. You take what you can get.
I miss my mom.